The best videos featuring Brazil’s most exotic dance styles and rhythms!


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Zouk, Samba de Gafieira, Lambada, Forró, Capoeira and more!


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Brazilian Dance Styles


Traditional zouk style was first developed in Ilha Dos Pescadores in Rio de Janeiro around the mid 90’s when Lambada songs stopped being composed. It was developed and first taught by Adilio Porto and Renata Peçanha in Brazil’s dance school for Brazilian couple dances of Jaime Arôxa. The characteristic steps influencing that were created are the basic step going front and back (from Samba de Gafieira), the opening and lateral step (from Bolero), elastic and bonus (also called boomerang in Europe).

Zouk  is a dance practiced today in every continent, being spread through the whole world professionals. Zouk is danced by moving basically the head of tempos (which many dance teachers simply call time). Aside from a style that uses only the head of time, generally between the heads also marks the gap therebetween, in what is called setback (eg samba) – labeled called 1.2. In the setback, it is the characteristic movement of zouk: one swing or a winding movement (wave) known as snake.

It is a dance originating from the lambada, but more adapted movements to the tempo of the music. The lambada was very fast and frantic, preventing many steps that exist today, and for this dance reason diluted in various aspects and forms of dance, but the basis for the dance never ceased to be something in common between these strands with the turns, arm and head movements.

With the arrival of the slopes today, the dance is zouk from very slow to very fast, according to the musical essence, but always exploring sensuality. We must be very careful not to confuse music with dance. The Brazilian zouk dance can be danced to different rhythms: kizomba, tarraxinha, cabolove, cabozouk, remixes, R & B, hip hop, etc. The Caribbean zouk dance is in many places, like France and England, but the Brazilian Zouk, known as Brazilian Zouk is being danced in all continents of the world.
Zouk can be danced in the Kizomba music style, but can not be confused with specifically called dance kizomba, which is of Angolan origin, with strong implementation in African countries where Portuguese is the official language.

Lambazouk, also called the Porto Seguro-style, is often thought of as the evolution of original lambada, although in its current iteration it has diverged far from original Lambada. This dance is characterized by high energy (energia) and feel good attitude (alegria). Although it is a fast and energetic dance, it flows smoothly and the moves are continuous and rhythmic, and dancers follow circular (and to a lesser extent slot-style) movements as they relate to each other. One way in which the present lambazouk differs from the original kaoma-like lambada style, is that they have removed wiggling shoulder movements (also sometimes seen in Cuban-style salsa). Instead the shoulders are kept fixed while the hips move (swing) to create a sensual effect. A number of movements have been added to the modern version of this dance mainly created by Braz dos Santos and Didi Santos of Brazil.

Lambazouk is characterized by the following movements:

– Head movements (Cabeça – head moves in the same direction as shoulder; Boneca – Head moves in the reverse direction as shoulder for half measure

– (Hair) whip movement (Chicote)

– Back arch/dip (Cambre)

The original Porto Seguro style is also unique in the way steps are performed to music (in this sense it is closer to Lambada). Here, the steps are performed with equal emphasis (same amount of travel) on strong beat and the two beats that follow (including the pause after the strong beat). This is done specifically to facilitate musicality by matching sharp movements (chicote and cambre) with the strong beat. When danced this way dancers fluently incorporate sharp movements to accentuate strong beat without stopping the dance (pausing to catch up). Even though this timing is popular in lambazouk it is by no means exclusive. Many lambazouk dancers also dance by taking longer step (or turning the follower) on the dominant beat. It is also a common practice to switch between the two timings within the same song (by doing multiple contra-tempo turns for the follower). In lambazouk style (as explained earlier) a popular way is to step equally (length-wise) on strong beat and following two beats. This creates continuous movements.

Lambazouk is mainly danced in Porto Seguro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Argentina, Spain, UK, Israel, the west coast of the US, Japan & recently also in Malaysia and Australia.

Forró is a genre of Brazilian music that originated in Northeastern Brazil. It encompasses various dance styles as well as a number of different musical beats. This music genre has gained widespread popularity in all regions of Brazil. Forró is closely associated with Brazilian June Festivals, which celebrate a number of Christian saints. The most celebrated is Saint John‘s day.

There are several theories on the origin of the name. The main theory is that forró as a derivative of forrobodó, meaning “great party” or “commotion”. This is the view held by Brazilian folklorist Luís da Câmara Cascudo, who studied the Brazilian Northeast through most of his life. Forrobodó is believed to come from the word forbodó (itself a corruption of fauxbourdon), which was used in the Portuguese court to define a dull party. The word forrobodó is itself very common in Portuguese popular conversation to describe a fun, but almost depraved and limitless party. This word was carried by Portuguese migration waves to Brazil, and lost the light negative meaning and was slowly simplified by their children.

Yet another theory often heard popularly in Brazil and elsewhere—for example, Gilberto Gil provides it in concerts—is that the word forró is a derivative of the English expression “for all” and that it originated in the early 1900s. English engineers on the Great Western Railway of Brazil near Recife would throw balls on weekends and classify them as either only for railroad personnel or for the general populace (“for all”). This belief was somewhat reinforced by a similar practice by USAF personnel stationed at the Natal Air Force Base during World War II, but it is unrelated because before the USAF went to Natal, the name “Forró” was already in use.

Forró is the most popular genre of music and dance in Brazil’s Northeast, to the extent that historically “going to the Forró” meant simply going to party or going out. Regarding the music, it is based on a combination of three instruments (accordionzabumba and a metal triangle). The dance however becomes very different as you cross the borders of the Northeast into the Southeast. As part of the popular culture it is in constant change. The dance known as college forró is the most common style between the middle-class students of colleges and universities in the Southeast, having influences of other dances like salsa and samba-rock.

The traditional music used to dance the forró was brought to the Southeast from the Northeast by Luiz Gonzaga, who transformed the baião (a word originated from baiano and assigned a warm-up for artists to search for inspiration before playing) into a more sophisticated rhythm. In later years, forró achieved popularity throughout Brazil, in the form of a slower genre known as xote, that has been influenced by pop-rock music to become more acceptable by Brazilian youth of Southeast, South and Central regions.

Samba is a Brazilian musical genre and dance style, with its roots in Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions, particularly of Angola and the Congo, through the samba de roda genre of the northeastern state of Bahia, from which it derived. Although there were various forms of samba in Brazil in the form of various popular rhythms and regional dances that originated from drumming, samba as a music genre is seen as originally a musical expression of urban Rio de Janeiro, then the capital and largest city ofImperial Brazil.

It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity. The Bahian Samba de Roda (dance circle), which became a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity in 2005, is the main root of thesamba carioca, the samba that is played and danced in Rio de Janeiro.

The modern samba that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century is predominantly in a 2/4 tempo varied with the conscious use of a sung chorus to abatucada rhythm, with various stanzas of declaratory verses. Traditionally, the samba is played by strings (cavaquinho and various types of guitar) and various percussion instruments such as tamborim. Influenced by American orchestras in vogue since the Second World War and the cultural impact ofUS music post-war, samba began to use trombones, trumpets, chorosflutes, and clarinets.

In addition to distinct rhythms and meters, samba brings a whole historical culture of food, varied dances (miudinho, coco, samba de roda, and pernada), parties, clothes such as linen shirts, and the Naif painting of established names such as Nelson SargentoGuilherme de Brito, and Heitor dos Prazeres. Anonymous community artists, including painters, sculptors, designers, and stylists, make the clothes, costumes, carnival floats, and cars, opening the doors of schools of samba. There is also a great tradition of ballroom samba in Brazil, with many styles. Samba de Gafieira is the style more famous in Rio de Janeiro, where common people used to go to the gafieira parties since the 1930s, and where the moves and identity of this dance has emerged, getting more and more different from its African, European and Cuban origins and influences.

The Samba National Day is celebrated on December 2. The date was established at the initiative of Luis Monteiro da Costa, an Alderman ofSalvador, in honor of Ary Barroso. He composed “Na Baixa do Sapateiro” even though he had never been in Bahia. Thus 2 December marked the first visit of Ary Barroso to Salvador. Initially, this day was celebrated only in Salvador, but eventually it turned into a national holiday.

Samba is a local style in Southeastern Brazil and Northeast Brazil, especially in Rio de JaneiroSão PauloSalvador and Recife. Its importance as Brazil’s national music transcends region, however; samba schools, samba musicians and carnival organizations centered on the performance of samba exist in every region of the country, even though other musical styles prevail in various regions (for instance, in Southern BrazilCenter-West Brazil, and all of the Brazilian countryside, Sertanejo, or Brazilian country music, is the most popular style).

Samba de Gafieira (also called Gafieira) is a partner dance to the Brazilian samba musical rhythms. Unlike variousstreet and club forms of Brazilian samba, it evolved as a ballroom dance (dança de salão, literally, “salon dance”).

Samba de Gafieira must be distinguished from the ballroom Samba, danced in International Latin and American Rhythmballroom dance styles.

Gafieira is usually a pair dance, although in artistic performances it is not uncommon to add solo variations, including steps of Samba no Pé.

The word “gafieira” can also refer to the traditional samba music orchestra, as well as the dance hall where it is performed. The term gafieira was Brazilian Portuguese slang meaning “low dancing resort, gaff, honky-tonk” or “dance festivity frequented by the populace”.

The style originated from samba dancing in cabarets and gafieiras (hence the name, literally meaning “Samba of gafieira”), primarily in districts of Botafogo, Catete and Centro of Rio de Janeiro. The term gained recognition in 1940s. Over time the style significantly evolved away from the style 1940s under significant influence of Argentine Tango and incorporating many acrobatic elements.”

 Lambada is a dance from Pará, Brazil, of African origin[citation needed]. The dance became internationally popular in the 1980s, especially in Latin America and Caribbean countries. It has adopted aspects of dances such as forró, salsa, merengue,maxixe and the carimbó.

Lambada is generally a partner dance. The dancers generally dance with arched legs, with the steps being from side to side, turning or even swaying, and in its original form never front to back, with a pronounced movement of the hips. At the time when the dance became popular, short skirts for women were in fashion and men wore long trousers, and the dance has become associated with such clothing, especially for women wearing short skirts that swirl up when the woman spins around, typically revealing 90s-style thong underwear.

The French group Kaoma recorded a number one worldwide summer hit “Lambada“, sung in Portuguese, which sold 5 million singles in 1989. The song peaked at #46 in the United States in 1990 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In Portuguese, the “Lambada” song is called “Chorando se foi”, which means Crying he/she went away.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art with its roots originating in Angola and the Congo, that combines elements of danceacrobatics andmusic, and is usually referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazilmainly by West Africans, beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques.

The most widely accepted origin of the word capoeira comes from the Tupiwords ka’a (“jungle”) e pûer (“it was”)[citation needed], referring to the areas of low vegetation in the Brazilian interior where fugitive slaves would hide. Practitioners of the art are called capoeiristas.

On 26 November 2014 capoeira was granted a special protected status as “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO.

Capoeira’s history begins with the beginning of African slavery in Brazil. Since the 17th century, Portuguese colonists began exporting slaves to their colonies, coming mainly from West Africa. Brazil, with its vast territory, received most of the slaves, almost 40% of all slaves sent through the Atlantic Ocean. The early history of capoeira is still controversial, especially the period between the 16th century and the beginning of the 19th century, since historical documents were very scarce in Brazil at that time. But oral tradition, language and evidence leaves little doubt about its Afro-Brazilian roots.

In the 16th century, Portugal had claimed one of the largest territories of the colonial empires, but lacked people to colonize it, especially workers. In the Brazilian colony, the Portuguese, like many European colonists, chose to useslavery to supply this shortage of workers. In its first century, the main economic activity in the colony was the production and processing of sugar cane. Portuguese colonists created large sugarcane farms called engenhos, which depended on the labor of slaves. Slaves, living in inhumane and humiliating conditions, were forced to work hard and often suffered physical punishment for small misbehaviors. Although slaves often outnumbered colonists, rebellions were rare due to lack of weapons, harsh colonial law, disagreement between slaves coming from different African cultures and lack of knowledge about the new land and its surroundings usually discouraged the idea of a rebellion.

In this environment, capoeira was born as a simple hope of survival. It was a tool with which an escaped slave, completely unequipped, could survive in the hostile, unknown land and face the hunt of the capitães-do-mato, the armed and mounted colonial agents who were charged with finding and capturing escapees.

Axé is a popular music genre originating in SalvadorBahia,Brazil approximately in 1986, fusing different Afro-Caribbean genres, such as MarchaReggae, and Calypso. It also includes influences of Brazilian music such as FrevoForróand Carixada. The most important creator of this music style was Alfredo Moura, conducting Carlinhos BrownLuiz CaldasSarajane and others. The word “axé” comes from a Yoruba religious greeting used in the Candomblé and Umbanda religions that means “soul”, “light”, “spirit” or “good vibration”.

When Daniela Mercury released O Canto da Cidade in 1992, axé entered the mainstream pop music scene and became one of the most popular genres in Brazil. Two years before, the American and European release of Margareth Menezes‘Elegibô took the style to international audiences.

Funk carioca, favela funk and, elsewhere in the world, baile funk, is a type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro, derived from Miami bass and African style music.

“Baile funk”, in Brazil, refers not to the music, but to the actual parties ordiscothèques in which the music is played. Although originated in Rio, funk carioca has become increasingly popular amongst working classes in other parts of Brazil. In the whole country, funk carioca is most often simply known as funk, although it is very different musically from what funkmeans in most other places.

Funk carioca was once a direct derivative of Miami bass and freestyle(another Miami-based genre) music from the United States. The reason why these genres, very localized in the USA, became popular and influential in Rio de Janeiro is due to proximity. Miami was a popular plane stop for Rio DJs to buy the latest American records.

During the 1970s, in Rio de Janeiro, nightclubs play funk and soul.

Funk carioca was popularized in the 1980s in Rio de Janeiro‘s favelas, the city’s slums. From the mid-1990s on, it was a mainstream phenomenon in Brazil. Funk songs discuss topics as varyied as poverty, human dignityracial pride of black peoplesex (breaking taboos), violence and social injustice. Social analysts believe that carioca funk is a genuine expression of the severe social issues that burden the poor and black people in Rio.

According to DJ Malboro, the main influence for the emergence of funk carioca was the single Planet Rock of Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force, launched in 1982.

The rhythms of carioca funk in its early days were mostly loops of electronic drums from Miami bass or freestyle records, while a few artists composed them with actual drum machines. The most common drum beat was a loop of DJ Battery Brain’s “808 volt”, commonly referred to as “Voltmix”, though Hassan’s “Pump Up The Party” is also notable. Nowadays, carioca funk rhythms are mostly based on tamborzão rhythms instead of the older drum machine loops.

Melodies are usually sampled. Older songs typically chopped up freestyle samples for the melody, or had none at all. Modern funk uses a set of samples from various sources, notably horn and accordion stabs, as well as the horn intro to the “Rocky” theme. Funk music has always used a small catalog of rhythms and samples which almost all songs take from (commonly with several in the same song). Funk carioca songs can either be instrumental or include rapping, singing, or something in between the two.


List of International Zouk Dance Congresses

Brazouka Beach Festival in Porto Seguro, Brazil on 31 Dec 2015 – 8 Jan 2016
Zouk Zensation on Koh Tao, Thailand on 2-6 Jan
International Rio Zouk Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 7-10 Jan
Zouk Libre Festival in Warsaw, Poland on 15-17 Jan
Leids Winter Zouk Festival in Leiden, the Netherlands on 22-24 Jan
ZoukSki in Mortzine, France on 23-31 Jan
Zouk Meets Snow in Rigi, Switzerland on 29-31 Jan

Westzouktime! in Brno, Czech Republic on 12-14 Feb.
Oman International Salsa and Zouk Festival in Muscat, Oman on 23-27 Feb.
Zouk Fest in London, UK on 26-29 Feb

Rio Zouk Weekend Vienna in Vienna, Austria on 3-6 Mar.
I’m Zouk – International Miami Zouk Festival in Miami, USA on 4-7 Mar.
Brazilian Dance Festival in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 11-13 Mar
International Prague Zouk Congress in Prague, Czech Republic on 23-28 Mar

NZ Brazilian Dance Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15-17 Apr.
Prague Zouk Marathon in Prague, Czech Republic on 27 Apr – 2 May
L.A. Zouk Congress in Los Angeles, USA on 28 Apr – 2 May.
F.I.E.L. Festival Internacional de Entretenimento Latino in Pírenopolis, Brazil on 29 Apr – 2 May.
Zouk Fusion in São Paulo, Brazil; Unconfirmed (30 Apr – 3 May 2015).

Zouk Fever Budapest Festival in Budapest, Hungary on 6-8 May
Canada Zouk Congress in Toronto, Canada on 18-23 May
Zürich Zouk Congress in Zürich, Switzerland on 19-23 May.
BH Zouk Congress in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on 25-29 May.
Zouk Day in São Paulo, Brazil on 25-29 May 2016.

Summer Sensual Days in Rovinj, Croatia on 22-27 Jun.
Zouk Moscow Congress in Moscow, Russia on 16-19 Jun.
DC Zouk & Kizomba Festival in Washington DC, USA on 24-26 Jun.

Leids Summer Zouk Festival in Leiden, The Netherlands; Unconfirmed (3-5 Jul 2015)
LIKE Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 7-10 Jul
Zouk S.E.A in Penang, Malaysia on 10-12 Jul.
Let’s Zouk Lebanon in Beirut, Lebanen on 14-17 Jul. 
Dance Festival at the Center of the Universe in Seattle on 14-18 Jul.
Zouk in Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Unconfirmed (17-19 Jul 2015).
ZoukDevils & Friends Summer Weekend in Mataró, Spain on 21-25 Jul.
Casa do Zouk in Gold Coast, Australia on 28-31 Jul.

Russian Zouk Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia on 11-15 Aug.
ZoukMX in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on 22-29 Aug.
Bachaturo in Warsaw, Poland on 19-21 Aug.
Bachaturo Holidays in Augustów, Poland on 22-28 Aug.
Amsterdam Zouk Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Unconfirmed (27-30 Aug 2015)
ZNL Music Festival in San Diego, USA; Unconfirmed (28-30 Aug 2015)

Zouktime! Dance Holiday in Crikvenica, Croatia on 3-10 Sep.
Cyprus Zouk ‘n’ Holidays Congress in Limassol, Cyprus; Unconfirmed (10-14 Sep 2015)
Zouk Infinity in Beirut, Lebanon; Unconfirmed (10-15 Sep 2015)
Zouk Lambada Beach Festival in Santa Susana & Barcelona, Spain on 15-19 Sep

Zouktime! in Brno, Czech Republic on 30 Sep – 2 Oct. 
Buenos Aires Dance Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Unconfirmed (9-12 Oct 2015).
Fall for Zouk in New York, USA; Unconfirmed (16-19 Oct 2015).
Helsinki Zouk Festival in Helsinki, Finland on 14-16 Oct
Dutch International Zouk Congress in Breda, Holland on 27 Oct – 2 Nov
Congresso Mundial de Zouk do Brasil in São Paulo, Brazil; Unconfirmed (30 Oct – 2 Nov 2015).

Israel Zouk Congress in Dor Beach, Israel; Unconfirmed (6-8 Nov 2015).
Mega Zouk & Samba weekend in Vienna, Austria on 17-21 Nov.
International Boston Brazilian Dance Festival in Boston, USA; Unconfirmed (12-15 Nov 2015).
Middle-East Zouk & Kizomba Festival in Dubai, UAE; Unconfirmed (19-24 Nov 2014).

Sydney International Zouk Festival in Sydney, Australia; Unconfirmed (3-6 Dec 2015)
Berg’s Congress in Porto Seguro, Brazil on 30 Dec 2016 – 8 Jan 2017

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